Tanks deployed by Chinese authorities to prevent people from withdrawing money from banks

Chinese authorities have deployed tanks in an attempt to quell large protests by people unable to withdraw their savings from crisis-hit banks.

The country’s Henan province has been rocked by clashes between police and people who said they had been unable to withdraw money from local banks since April this year, as reported it The economic period.

Videos posted on social media show tanks in the streets to deter protesters, in scenes eerily reminiscent of the 1989 Tiananmen Square unrest, where Chinese authorities cracked down heavily on student protesters calling for democracy.

The Beijing government’s actions have caused the deaths of hundreds, if not thousands, of young people and the incident is routinely deleted from Chinese social media platforms by state censors.

The recent banking protests were first sparked after thousands of customers opened accounts at banks in Henan and neighboring Anhui province that offered relatively high interest rates.

They later found they could not make withdrawals after reports the head of the banks’ parent company was wanted for financial crimes.

When depositors attempted to travel to Zhengzhou in Henan to try to recover their money from the six financially troubled rural banks, they were prevented from traveling by a Covid-19 health app on their cellphones, sparking protests regular.

Uniformed and plainclothes security guards run to approach protesters in Zhengzhou

(VIA REUTERS)

Due to continued protests, financial regulators have promised to return some bank customers some of their deposits.

In statements released last week, officials said customers with deposits of 50,000 yuan (£6,280) or less would be refunded. They said others with larger bank balances would get their money back at a later, unspecified date.

The regulators’ announcement was met with skepticism by customers who have been staging online and offline protests since April in an attempt to get their money back.

“It doesn’t really solve the problem,” said Xu Zhihao, a bank customer who did not attend the July 14 protest.

One protester, who gave only her surname, Ding, said she and her mother had 800,000 yuan (£100,000) in savings deposits at several banks.

“They made this announcement because we put our lives on the line. These less than 50,000 yuan are not due to us. It’s more of a payment to maintain social stability,” said Ding, who declined to give his full name for fear of reprisals.

She said she and her husband were beaten by plainclothes security guards during a protest on Sunday, in which several people were injured.

Several demonstrators told the Associated Press that some people were taken to hospital after being injured when plainclothes police and security guards used force to disperse protesters, although most injuries were scrapes or cuts.

Additional reports per AP